Week Seven:
ADHD and Development Lab

Carhart Fellow in Clinical Psychology

ADHD and Development Lab, University of Iowa | Iowa City, Iowa

July 16, 2015

So before I begin, I must say I will unfortunately not be providing discussion on articles during this blog post. Dr. Nikolas and I didn’t end up meeting this week due to the fact I had originally planned to have twice as many visits this week as usual, one of which fell on our regular meeting time, in addition to the fact she was preparing for a conference. So naturally, it would be impossible to meet this week. I apologize for suggesting otherwise in my previous blog entry.

Starting out, I had four visits scheduled this week, though only two of the four showed. Fortunately, those that weren’t able to come into to the lab rescheduled for a later date. So, as usual, I spent the newly found “free time” doing data entry.

On Monday morning, an individual with ADHD came in for a visit. What was interesting about this visit was that the participant was undergoing training to becoming a PhD-level school psychologist. If you are familiar with school psychology in the United States, you would know that school psychologists mostly assist in implementing school-wide policies and practices, oversee Individualized Education Plans (IEP), conduct interventions, provide consultation, and administer psychoeducational testing (often involving neurocognitive testing). Though psychoeducational evaluations are generally not as thorough and focus mostly on how a student would be able to perform in an educational setting, those trained in psychoeducational evaluations have experience in administering intelligence testing, behavioral measures, personality assessment, and so on. This is kind of a problem. Since our protocol involves ascertaining full-scale intelligence, behavioral measures, and personality assessments, it wouldn’t be good for someone to know the very instruments for which we are attempting to use to measure these variables in our participants. Though I do not think it made much of a difference in this participant’s case, I really hope practice effects didn’t promote any sort of advantage.

In my Thursday lab visit there was a participant considered as a part of our control group. This was the first control participant that I have since tested, and the differences in performance between those with ADHD and those without ADHD are not as stark as one would assume. One difference I did notice, however, is such that those with ADHD (especially if they are quite intelligent) may have an area in which they outperform the gross majority of individuals (meaning they perform well above the mean) while they have clear areas of deficit in another area of neuropsychological functioning. Perhaps, for example, an individual does very well on measures of spatial reasoning, but does poorly on tasks of working memory. Or, they do relatively well on executive function tasks (e.g. planning), while they don’t do quite as well on measures of sustained attention (e.g. Continuous Performance Task) or response inhibition (e.g. Stroop task). Individuals without ADHD seem to perform quite consistently across measures of neuropsychological functioning. It’s quite curious.

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Andrew Crow '16

Andrew is a Psychology and Philosophy major from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.